Looking for QB help? Call on Shaun Hill.



Shaun Hill recently beat out Alex Smith for the starting QB gig in San Francisco, but his Average Draft Position (ADP) hasn’t risen all that much. He’s still available in roughly 85% of ESPN’s fantasy leagues, and is a nice pickup for fantasy owners looking to bolster their QB position.

Last season, he took over a 2-6 team in Week 10, and averaged 234 passing yards, 1.5 pass TD and 0.3 rush TD over the last eight games of the season. Subtracting interceptions (1.0 per game), this works out to about 19.1 fantasy points per game. Had Hill averaged these numbers over the course of an entire season, he would have finished as last year’s QB6, ahead of Peyton Manning and Donovan McNabb. Moreover, he led the 49ers to a 5-3 record down the stretch, so he has proven that he can win games.

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Fantasy football quick-hitters

Arnaz Battle pushing Josh Morgan for starting job?
Morgan has been one of my favorite sleepers, but his preseason has been pretty lackluster though he still holds onto the starting gig. Battle is a guy who always seems to produce in PPR formats, though he’s less of an impact player and more of a possession WR.

Willie Parker will be the Steelers’ feature back.
HC Mike Tomlin said of Parker that he is “our runner,” the implication being that he’s not going to be splitting carries with the other RBs in Pittsburgh. If this plays out in Week 1, it’s an obvious boost to Parker’s stock.

Chaz Schilens could return as early as Week 2.
He was one of my favorite sleepers, and now he’s back on the radar. Pick him up if you have a spot.

Greg Camarillo the starter in MIA?
This position battle has been fluid all preseason with Camarillo, Brian Hartline and Davone Bess all holding the lead at times. If Camarillo is indeed the starter, he’s worth a spot in PPR leagues.

Jay Cutler has “most faith” in TE Greg Olsen.
Olsen looks primed for a breakout season. Cutler loves to throw to his TE, and there aren’t too many options in the Chicago passing game.

Chris Henry, a sleeper no longer

Over the course of his tumultuous four-year career, Chris Henry has caught a TD every 5.6 passes. That’s a better ratio than Randy Moss (6.2), Terrell Owens (6.8) and Jerry Rice (7.3), in his 49er days. There has never been any doubt that the lanky 6’4″ Henry had all the tools to be a star, but he just couldn’t stay out of trouble.

According to ESPN, it was the NFL’s disciplinary policy that helped Henry see the light. He should know — he has been suspended for 14 games over the last three seasons.

“Yeah, it helped me,” Henry said, according to USA Today. “It helped me focus up, and it made me realize that if I continually wanted to play, I had to do right and be a professional.”

Since the Bengals drafted him in 2005 out of West Virginia, he’s faced charges of marijuana possession, carrying a concealed weapon, drunken driving, providing alcohol to minors and assault.

Through four preseason games, Henry has 14 catches for 224 yards and four TD. Even though he’s playing limited snaps, if he keeps that pace up, he’s on his way to a 56-catch, 896-yard, 16-TD season. Obviously, it’s tough to expect him to catch that many touchdowns, but double digits are certainly attainable given his TD-to-catch ratio. The receptions and yards are doable, and a 56-896-10 season would result in Top 20 fantasy numbers.

There are a few things standing in Henry’s way: 1) Chad Ochocinco, who is hell bent on having a bounce-back year, 2) Laveranues Coles, who still has enough ability to earn snaps by catching all the underneath stuff, and 3) Henry’s own demons, who may resurface at any time.

Still, with the departure of T.J. Houshmandzadeh and the (possible) decline of Ochocinco, the Bengals’ WR pecking order is as fluid now as it’s ever been, and if the immensely talented Henry has truly turned over a new leaf, he has the chance to break out in a big way.

From a fantasy perspective, it’s hard not to like this guy in the late-middle rounds. In my drafts, it seems like he’s the best WR on the board as early as the 8th or 9th in some cases, but owners can usually wait a bit longer to pull the trigger.

But don’t wait too long.

Fantasy Football: 10 Late Bloomers to Watch

Usually, the term “late bloomer” is used to describe someone that raises his level of play later than usual in his career, but in this case I’m referring to guys that have become fantasy relevant late in preseason. I wasn’t thinking about these players when I put together our fantasy football preview or even when I suggested several late round WR sleepers. These guys emerged as viable fantasy players as injuries took their toll, position battles were won and depth charts were adjusted.

Maybe it’s too late to draft these players, but they’re worth considering when scouring the waiver wire for help.

In no particular order…

1. Brian Hartline, WR, Dolphins
I really like Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo in PPR leagues, but it appears that Hartline has passed both on the Miami depth chart. This is a fuzzy, fluid battle. Hartline is a deep threat as evidenced by his 56-yard grab against the Bucs last week. Reports this week have Hartline and Camarillo rotating at flanker with the first team. Given his rise, I like the rookie Hartline here, but since he plays with a weak-armed QB on a run-oriented team, he’s only worth a flier in the late rounds. 9/7 Update: Now it appears that Greg Camarillo is the starter opposite Ginn in MIA. This situation continues to be very fluid.

2. Justin Gage, WR, Titans
3. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
Nate Washington’s hamstring injury opened the door for both these players to get off to a good start early in the season. Britt is the high upside rookie, while Gage is the under-the-radar vet. Gage appears to be the safer option at this point, because he should still be the starter when Washington returns and has always been pretty productive when healthy. In the last preseason game, he posted 6-57-1 and looks to be Kerry Collins’ go-to guy. Meanwhile, Britt has shown flashes of excellence (like his 89-yard effort in the previous game), but he still looks overwhelmed at times. If you need help early on, Gage is your man, but Britt isn’t a bad guy to stash on your bench.

4. Shaun Hill, QB, 49ers
Now that it’s finally clear that he’ll be the 49ers’ starting QB, it’s safe to draft Hill in the later rounds. He was quite productive fantasy-wise in 2008, posting 227 yards and 1.4 pass TD over the last nine games. He also rushed for two TD. He faces an easy schedule and should have more weapons in the passing game once Michael Crabtree signs and if Vernon Davis ever reaches his potential. Hill is a sneaky good pick in the 11th or 12th round as a backup (or as part of a QBBC).

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How to ride Marshawn Lynch to a fantasy championship

I’m playing in nine or ten leagues this year, and one thing I’m noticing as I get deeper and deeper into my drafts is that Marshawn Lynch is consistently undervalued this preseason.

Here’s what I wrote as part of our fantasy preview:

Marshawn Lynch, Bills (4.08)
Lynch’s ADP is depressed because he’s going to miss the first three games due to suspension. Last year, we saw two players – Steve Smith and Brandon Marshall – tear it up after returning from suspension, and they were both big values on draft day. If you can combine Lynch in the late 3rd or early 4th and his backup, Fred Jackson, in the 8th or 9th, you’re essentially getting a borderline first round RB, which will pay dividends throughout the season. Plus, the Terrell Owens acquisition should take the pressure off the running game and open things up a little for Lynch and Jackson, even though the loss of Jason Peters (one of the league’s best left tackles) may offset this advantage.

Then I had to choose amongst Lynch, Ryan Grant and Reggie Bush in Round 4 of my Industry Insiders Draft

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